Medicine balls are a terrific tool which you can use in your home or at the gym. They are especially useful if you have arthritis or limited hand mobility which makes using dumbbells painful. They are also a great tool for the couch potato kid. Kids usually equate balls with fun.
Medicine balls are simply weighted balls. The weights go from around 2-pounds to 12-pounds; from $15.00 to $50.00; and are color coded to help you identify the weight.
Some of the exercises used with a medicine ball are the same as those used with a dumbbell but the two can feel different. For example, holding a 12-pound dumbbell for an overhead triceps press feels different than holding a medicine ball. The reason is that there is less control over the medicine ball. You may find yourself holding the ball tighter than you should as you raise it over your head. Still it is effective and nice for a change of pace.
A two-handed overhead triceps press is for the back of your upper arm. Standing up or sitting down hold the ball behind your head with your elbows pointed forward. Lift the ball straight up making sure your elbows stay pointed to the front and that your arms are as close to your head as the ball will allow. Then lower the ball. Do this 12 times. If you can easily do this 12 times, you need a heavier ball.
Men will have to use the heaviest ball to work their abdominal areas. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent. Hold the ball against your chest and do a crunch by lifting your upper torso off the ground. Make sure you look up just as you would with any crunch.
One for both men and women will work your oblique muscles (muscles on the side of your abdomen). Stand and hold the ball with both hands against your chest. Then turn in either direction and hold for a moment.
Using a medicine ball for squats can be very effective. Stand in an upright position with your feet shoulder width apart. Start by holding the ball in front of you with your arms extended but not with your elbows locked. You will then do a squat. A squat is an exercise that you really need to do correctly. If you have a chair behind you and pretend you are going to sit down but do not actually sit you will be doing a squat. Make sure your knees do not extend over your toes.
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